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3 1833 01369 4309 





Reprinted from 

Records of the American Catholic Historical Society 

Vol. XXIX, No. 4— December, 19 18 

Born 1760; Died 1856 




Some years ago the late Martin I. J. Griffin, the well- 
known Catholic historian, called upon the writer seeking 
information regarding John Keating's connection with an 
early land settlement in Pennsylvania which was known 
as the Asylum Company; and in the course of the con- 
versation he expressed his surprise that no member of 
the Keating family had ever taken the trouble to " write 
up " so interesting a personality. In his article subse- 
quently published in the American Catholic Historical 
Records he has this to say: "Of John Keating, much 
could be said but little has been published concerning this 
foremost and most venerable old-time Philadelphian. The 
name is familiar and a household one in our city. It is to 
be hoped that his descendants will soon make public rec- 
ognition of the worth of their progenitor, a truly represen- 
tative Catholic. . . . Just read the tribute of Liancourt to 
his worth and then wonder why more has not been given in 
recognition of it by those who could do so." 

Again, in September, 1905, Mr. Griffin writes: " I often 
wonder why you don't complete an account of your grand- 
father. . . . Could you give me more facts regarding him ? 
Indeed, you ought to get up his whole career." 

Unfortunately John Keating did not leave many papers 
from which to gather the details of his career in America. 
For a few years he kept a diary, but almost solely for the 
purpose of recording the virtues of his beloved wife whom 
he lost after a short married life. The death of his two 

2 John Keating and his Forbears 

sons and his son-in-law during his own Hfetime, and the 
subsequent busy professional career of his only grandson, 
which left little time for leisure pursuits, precluded the 
usual course of transmission of the many passing incidents 
of his daily life which might now be of interest to his own 
and possibly to other people of this day and generation. 
There are, however, old documents and papers having refer- 
ence to the earlier history of his family and to his own 
career before his emigration to America w^hich are not 
without interest, and to the facts as thus derived have been 
added herein such scraps of information as could be gath- 
ered here and there from copies of his own correspondence, 
if only with a view to discharging as far as possible at this 
late date the duty which Mr. Griffin's words would seem 
to impose. 

As regards the old family papers referred to, it can hardly 
be doubted that if all the buried and forgotten personalities 
and associations of earlier days were brought to light and 
submitted to inspection from our more modem point of 
view, there would be found in every family history, how- 
ever obscure, characters, incidents and associations which 
would excite human interest. And so it is with these old 
papers of John Keating. Through them his forbears and 
their doings are traceable farther back than is the case with 
many families laying legitimate claim, according to the usual 
tests of popular distinction, to greater importance than his 
own. And their contents would seem to possess sufficient 
interest to warrant a fuller and more detailed reference to 
John Keating's antecedents than is usually made in short 
biographies such as this paper is intended to cover. The 
collection and preservation of these papers was due in large 
part to the emigration of the Keating family from Ireland 
to France in the eighteenth century. At that time it was of 
importance, owing to the deference paid to caste in that 
country, to supply the proper authorities with particulars as 

John Keating and his Forbears 3 

to origin gathered from the pubhc offices and the private 
registers then extant. 

It thus happened that upon the arrival of John Keating' s 
father in France in 1766, in order to estabHsh his social 
status in the land of his adoption, he brought with him 
proofs of his paternal and maternal ancestry for ten pre- 
ceding generations, and these in part have been preserved, 
though some were destroyed as a measure of protection 
during the French Revolution. Thereby he not only gained 
official recognition of his rank from the Crown, but, what 
is of more interest at the present day, confirmed the racial 
origin of his particular family line as traced in its own tra- 
ditions. The purely Gaelic families of Ireland, of course, 
need no such proof, nor indeed do some of those of Anglo- 
Norman stock whose names alone indicate their origin, such 
as the Eustaces, Cruices, Purcells, Montgomerys and 
Graces; but the Keating name, because of its Irish deriva- 
tion, might prove misleading, especially as all who bear the 
name in our day are not, as it seems, of the same race. 

It was through this means, therefore, that it was estab- 
lished that John Keating's family is of Anglo-Norman de- 
scent, by which are indicated those families of Norman stock 
who preceded or accompanied Henry II of England in his 
invasion of Ireland in 11 69, or who followed him, once his 
rule was established. These families, traceable to the 
County of Wexford, where the expedition landed, while re- 
taining in part the traditions of their race and living to a 
large extent within what was known as the English Pale, 
intermarried not only within their own race, but also with 
those of pure Irish blood, and though intermediate between 
the native Irish and the English of the Pale, gradually be- 
came identified with the Irish people in their later struggles, 
especially because of their adherence to the ancient faith, 
thereby giving rise to the popular expression that they were 
" more Irish than the Irish themselves." At their head 

4 John Keating and his Forbears 

stood certain great families, such as the Kildares and the 
Desmonds of the Geraldine Hne, being descended from 
Maurice Fitzgerald who accompanied Richard de Clare, 
Earl of Pembroke, surnamed Strongbow, in the advance 
guard of Henry's expedition. The history of these families 
is imperishably associatetd with the struggle for Irish free- 
dom against English oppression. 

The Keating family is of this stock, and its tradition, as 
set forth in an ancient narrative still in possession of the 
family, traces the name to an incident occurring during 
Strongbow's Expedition. A young man in charge of a de- 
tachment was sent ashore on the coast of Wexford, with 
orders to light fires in case he should land unopposed. In 
effecting his purpose he put to flight a wild boar which lay 
hid in a laurel bush. In commemoration of his successful 
adventure he afterwards assumed the name Kiadtinneh 
(soon after modified to Keating), which is said to be the 
Gaelic for many, or a hundred, fires, and quartered his arms 
with four laurel leaves surmounted by a wild boar as a crest. 
The family tradition makes him one of the Fitzgerald clan. 
As to the meaning of the name, it can only be said that it 
was so interpreted at least as far back as the time of Queen 
Elizabeth ; for when certain members of the Keating family 
were driven by the religious persecution of that day to seek 
refuge in Spain and Portugal, they translated their name 
into Spanish and became known as the family of Cienf uegos, 
which has the same meaning, their coat-of-arms being also 
the same as that of the Keatings of Ireland, to wit, the four 
laurel leaves surmounted by the boar. And as regards the 
descent, it may be noted that in O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees, 
vol. 2, p. 216, the Keatings of Wexford are stated to be 
descended from Griffin or Griffyth, son of William de 
Carew, who was a brother of Maurice Fitzgerald above 
mentioned. At all events, the name in its Anglicized form 
appears in the chronicles of the times shortly after the in- 

John Keating and his Forbears 5 

vasion of Ireland as identified with the County of Wexford, 
where the Keatings appear to have held high rank among 
the Anglo-Norman settlers, though certain Irish families 
aftenvards, in assuming Anglicized forms of their own 
Gaelic patronymics, took the name of Keating, and are 
therefore not of the same blood. 

The stock from which John Keating descended, however, 
is clearly traceable in the family record before mentioned 
to the Wexford Keatings and is always associated in the 
histories of the times with the Geraldines as represented by 
the Earl of Kildare, of whom they were devoted adherents. 
The first of the name who appears on the beautifully illu- 
minated old genealogical tree drawn up in 1767 and still in 
possession of the family, is Henry Keating, Knight, of 
Wexford, who lived in the fourteenth century and from 
whom John Keating was tenth in direct descent. Those 
were the days of Edward III and the Black Prince — of 
Crec}'- and Poitiers. The king drew largely from Wexford 
for his army at that time, and it would not be improbable, 
though there is no record of it, that Henry Keating, a knight 
of English descent, should have participated in the taking 
of the little city which four hundred years afterwards re- 
ceived his direct descendant as an exile. 

The most interesting, though perhaps not the most de- 
vout, member of the family of that period was James, the 
grandson of Henry and brother of John's eighth ancestor. 
He was Prior of Kilmainham, a priory of the Order of St. 
John of Jerusalem, afterwards known as the Order of 
Malta, and subsequently Grand Prior of the Knights Tem- 
plar of all Ireland and one of the Thirteen Knights of the 
Order of St. John, a military confraternity instituted by tlie 
Irish Parliament about the year 1470 for the defence of the 
English Pale against what were termed the "wylde Irish". 
In the W^ars of the Roses, Keating sided with the White 
Rose, or the House of York, -whose cause was espoused by 

6 John Keating and his Forbears 

the Earl of Kildare, then Lord Deputy, and was involved in 
the great struggle with the House of Lancaster. More than 
this, he was accused of being unfaithful to his trust and 
deposed from the office of Grand Prior. According to 
Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, upon the appoint- 
ment of Lord Grey as Lord Deputy in place of the Earl of 
Kildare, Keating, who was then Constable of Dublin Castle, 
broke down the drawbridge and defied the new deputy with 
his 300 archers and men-at-arms. He was finally subdued 
and stripped of his offices and honors on the accession of 
Henry VK of the House of Lancaster, and died in poverty 
and disgrace. Inasmuch as the then Archbishop of Dublin 
and the Chief Justice of Ireland both suffered with him, it 
may charitably be supposed that he was not as black as he 
is painted in the quaint chronicles of the times, and especially 
in Sir James Ware's Antiquities of Ireland. Nicholas 
Keating, the oldest son in the seventh generation preceding 
John and nephew of the recalcitrant James, was summoned 
to the Irish Parliament as a baron of the realm — the only 
way by which barons were created in those days — ^but lost 
his title and possessions for rebellion under Queen Eliza- 
beth in company with several others of his kinsmen. It was 
this claim of title, which had reverted to the line from which 
John sprung by reason of failure of descendants from 
Nicholas, which Louis XVI recognized when John's father 
sought recognition from the French Crown on his arrival in 
France. The younger brother of Nicholas. William by 
name, who was John's direct ancestor, seems to have also 
been a person of note in his day. By letters patent from 
Henry VIII he was constituted Guardian of the Marches or 
waste lands lying between the English Pale and the territory 
of the native Irish. The Pale, wherein the English rule and 
system of land tenure prevailed, consisted at that time of 
the seaport counties of Louth, Westmeath, Dublin, Kildare 
and Wexford. The rest of Ireland was unequally divided 

John Keating and Jus Forbears 7 

among sixty Irish chiefs and thirty chiefs of Eiighsh origin 
hving under the Breton or tribal law which recognized no 
land titles save those of the tribe or clan. Many Irish, of 
course, lived within the Pale and many Anglo-Irish lived 
without: and the intervening waste land, which served as a 
protection to the inhabitants of the Pale, had to be guarded 
and policed. The Guardians of the Marches were vested 
with this duty, Keating's force of light armed infantry 
being known as the Keating Kerne. His sense of allegiance 
to the Crown did not at times, however, press very hard 
upon his conscience, for in Bagewell's England under the 
Tiidors he is referred to as having sided Avith Lord Ossaly, 
the son of the Earl of Kildare, in 1534, in a rebellion which 
originated in a rumor which spread through Ireland that 
the Earl, as Lord Deputy, who had been summoned to Eng- 
land, had been summarily executed on his arrival. The 
rumor was unfounded, however, and Keating with his whole 
force was captured, but suffered to return to his allegiance ; 
and his office was continued in his descendants until the 
time of the great rebellion under Charles I. 

In Queen Mary's reign King's and Queen's Counties 
were formed out of districts acquired from the Irish lands, 
and Queen's County was divided — the Irish under their 
tribal law being assigned to the western half and the Eng- 
lish to the eastern half. A few natives whose services as 
captains of Kerne had deserved recognition were accorded 
grants of land out of the English lection. Queen Mary died, 
however, before the transaction was completed, and it was 
not until shortly after Elizabeth's accession that William 
Keating's son, Thomas, became vested under royal patent 
with the estates of Crottentegle and Farraghbane in the 
parish of Killabin, Queen's County, which became the 
family domain and remained so until their forfeiture by 
Cromwell upon his invasion a hundred years later. It is not 
to be supposed, however, that their enjoyment of their pos- 

8 John Keating and his Forbears 

sessions was altogether undistvirbed. William Keating's 
direct- descendants intermarried with families of both Nor- 
man and Irish stock, the O'Dempsies, Hoares, Purcells. 
O'Regans, Eustaces, Fitzgeralds, Quins and Creaghs, all 
devoted adherents of the ancient faith. And from the time 
of Elizabeth the one aim of the English crown was to stamp 
out the Roman Catholic religion. For a long while the 
priests were the special object of attack, because the loyalty 
of the laity in the English section was a great asset in sub- 
duing the native Irish ; nor was it in the power of a handful 
of Protestants, as Lingard tells us, to deprive a whole people 
of their religion. It was perhaps fortunate also for the 
Keating family that the scion of their house was for the 
greater part of the reign of James I a minor. It was at this 
period that Geoffrey Keating the Irish historian lived. He 
was of the same stock, but how closely related does not ap- 
pear. Then came Charles I, and it might seem surprising 
that he should have seen fit to confirm by letters patent 
dated May 15, 1636, unto another Thomas Keating. John's 
great-great-grandfather, the privilege of holding his own 
land. The explanation lies in the fact that Charles was 
much pinched for funds, and Lord Strafford, his then Vice- 
roy, seized upon the pretext of flaws in the titles to Irish 
lands in general to compound with their owners under threat 
of forfeiture. And the very flattering terms made use of 
in describing the Keating family in the letters patent would 
seem to indicate that Thomas paid a pretty high price for 
his peaceable possession of his own. 

But it was not to be for long. The headstrong King in 
pursuance of his shifting policies was alienating both sides 
in the fierce struggle which was then impending, and losing 
his hold upon the affections of the Irish people upon whose 
fidelity, despite their past treatment, he could have relied. 
Both within and without the Pale they stood for him as 
long as he showed any inclination to yield to them the free 









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Horn 1669; Died 1741 

John Keating and his Forbears g 

exercise of their faith; but his vacillating conduct in making 
promises in return for their support, only to be broken to 
suit his purposes, gradually forced them into a position 
where religion took precedence, and this resulted in the 
King's undoing as well as their own. Thomas Keating 
naturally sided with all his kin and suffered with the rest. 
His eldest son, a lieutenant of horse, was killed in the first 
uprising. His second son, Redmund, John's great-grand- 
father, raised a troop of horse at his own expense to assist 
tlie King. Then as the situation gradually developed into a 
religious war, the Anglo-Irish drew towards their Celtic 
compatriots and upon Cromwell's invasion they were swept 
away. The Keating lands were forfeited and turned over 
to one of Cromwell's generals by name of Gale, the family 
being suffered during the reign of Charles H to occupy a 
small portion of the old estate. And this was all the recom- 
pense they had upon the restoration — a fate which befell 
thousands of their countrymen besides. Here they lived 
until the close of the reign of tlie unhappy James H. When 
William of Orange invaded Ireland Redmund Keating, 
John's great-grandfather, who in 1653 had married Eliza- 
beth Fitzgerald, a direct descendant of the great Earl of 
Desmond, was still living in the small section of his ancient 
patrimony above referred to. He had many sons, all of 
whom were in King James' army. One was killed at the 
battle of Aghrim, another at the battle of the Boyne, but 
Geoffrey (or Jeffrey), the grandfather of John, survived, 
and his history is sufinciently interesting and romantic to 
warrant mention here. After the battle of Aghrim, as cap- 
tain of horse he retired with King James' army to Limerick, 
where they made their last stand. Before withdrawing into 
the city itself, Geoffrey was stationed with his company at 
Adare, situated about seven miles from the city, where 
dwelt Thadeus, or Thady, Quin, the possessor of a fine 
estate — the site of an old abbey the ruins of which are still 

lo John Keating and his Forbears 

extant. He had a daughter Mary b}' his first wife — who 
was a Rice, of the family now represented by the Spring 
Rices. She was about i6 and he 22 years of age. Her 
father insisted upon Geoffrey's taking up his lodgings at 
Adare House, with the usual result that the young people 
found that neither could live without the other. A proposal 
of marriage was accepted and the situation admitted of no 
delay. The marriage had no sooner taken place than the 
General, being apprised of the approach of the enemy, called 
in all the outposts, including the young captain, and Lim- 
erick was besieged. The world-renowned capitulation fol- 
lowed, when almost the entire Irish army, being given the 
option whether to enlist in the English army or accept exile 
abroad, chose the latter, and rendezvoused for the purpose 
on the Quin Estate. Captain Keating then bade good-bye to 
his young wife, and neither of them saw nor heard of the 
other for six years. The Irish army was incorporated into 
the famous Irish Brigade, which gave such a good account 
of itself for years on the continent under Louis XIV. 

The vessel in which the young captain sailed for France 
was wrecked off the coast of Denmark; his troop was dis- 
persed and separately sought their way as best they could 
through the low countries to France. He relates in his own 
narrative that being reduced to great distress and having 
spent the last penny he had and sold all his eft'ects, " even 
his silver buckles," and walking carelessly on the high road 
he stumbled upon something which he discovered to be a 
purse which contained enough money to defray his expenses 
to St. Germain, where he found King James and his family 
established. There he learned that his regiment was in 
garrison at Bapaume (the scene of such terrible strife in 
the present war) and had taken the name of the Dorrington 
regiment after its colonel, a custom prevalent in those days. 
It was the same regiment in which John Keating served a 
century later. The regiment was then sent to reinforce 

JoJin Keating and his Forbears ii 

Marshal Catinat's army in Italy in its campaign against 
Prince Eugene, and on St. Francis' day, October 4, 1693, 
Captain Keating was made major of his regiment on the 
field of battle at La Marsaille in Piedmont for valor in rush- 
ing into the midst of the enemy and rescuing a standard of 
colors which had been taken at the beginning of the battle. 

In 1696 he obtained leave to return home. In order to 
secure entrance to England he disguised himself as a Flem- 
ish merchant, but was arrested on entering London and 
thrown into the Tower. After some six months' imprison- 
ment, nothing suspicious having been discovered on his per- 
son, he was visited by an old companion in arms who had 
entered the English service and was then under-secretary 
of state, who besought him to abandon the Stuarts and 
accept an equivalent rank in the English service. This he 
refused to do, asking only that he be allowed to visit his 
wife in Ireland, and the permission was secured. And the 
old narrative states that upon his altogether unexpected 
arrival in 1697, she " fainted away and was some time 
without giving signs of life." He then quitted Louis XIV's 
service and received a grant of land for a hundred years' 
duration from his father-in-law, which was supposed to 
represent his wife's interest, through her mother, in the 
Rice Estate, and which was called Baybush. 

Thady Quin remarried, and his descendants by his second 
wife subsequently became Lords of Adare and Earls of 
Dunraven, from whom the present earl descends. Geoffrey 
settled down at Baybush and had three daughters and two 
sons — Redmund and Valentine. Owing to his Stuart lean- 
ings he was under constant suspicion, and was once tried 
for high treason on a trumped-up charge, but was honorably 
acquitted. The circumstances, as narrated by his grandson 
in a paper still extant, are sufficiently interesting to warrant 
insertion here. '' Sitting by the fireside with his wife and 
children, then very young, on a winter's night he heard a 

12 , John Keating and his Forbears 

great rap at the door. Surprised at a visit at so late an hour 
he went himself to know who the stranger was, and received 
for answer that he was come by order of the Government, 
and summoned him in the King's name to open the door; 
which having done, he saw a young officer, who told him in 
the most polite manner that he was very sorry to be under 
the necessity of executing the disagreeable order he received 
from the Governor of the City of Limerick — that he had 
thirty soldiers under his command, that the house was sur- 
rounded, and that all resistance or attempt to escape would 
be vain, and that he must conduct him immediately to that 
city. Major Keating begged he would not alarm his wife 
and family, gave him his word of honor that he would 
follow him the next morning, and invited him to supper and 
to take a bed at Baybush. The offer was immediately 
accepted by the Lieutenant who commanded the detach- 
ment ; all the soldiers were invited to enter the house and to 
eat and drink, and the day following the Major and his 
servant, an old soldier, set out with the escort for Limerick, 
where they were confined for some days and thence trans- 
ferred to Dublin. There he learned for the first time that 
he and his servant were accused of high treason for having, 
with many other persons all unknown to him, entered into 
a plot of subverting King William's Government, and he 
was, moreover, particularly accused of bbing commissioned 
to raise 60,000 men for Louis XIV's service. They were 
all brought to trial, all the facts were sworn to, and the jury 
was about to deliberate, when one of the witnesses, struck 
with remorse of conscience, rose up and declared publicly 
that they were all suborned ; that their accusation was false 
and dictated by a spirit of revenge and hatred against some 
of the prisoners; that the names of Major Keating and his 
servant were added to the list in order to give more proba- 
bility to the indictments, and that all the papers concerning 
this aftair were deposited in a press or closet in a certain 

John Keating and his Forbears 13 

house in Dublin. These documents having been found and 
laid before the Court, the prisoners were discharged, the 
false witnesses punished; but the instigators of this foul 
plot were so powerful that their names were not even men- 

Geoffrey died in 1741. His eldest son, Redmund. studied 
for the Bar, and acquired a good practice in Dublin. Val- 
entine, the second son, after being educated with his brother 
in France, married Sarah Creagh, of an old Irish family 
whose estate, Tiervon, on the banks of the Shannon in the 
County Limerick, had been forfeited during the rebellion. 
They lived at Baybush, where all his children, including 
John, were born. The penal laws against Roman Catholics 
were strictly enforced in those days, and the prospect for 
his children, all strictly reared in their ancestral faith, was 
most discouraging. His elder brother Redmund, who had 
never married and was devoted to his brother's family, 
finally abandoned his practice and agreed to join him in 
emigrating to France, where the Irish had always met with 
a favorable reception from the Crown and the people and 
where the Catholic faith prevailed. Accordingly in 1766 
they relinquished their holdings at Adare and embarked at 
Cork for Havre, proceeding thence to St. Germain, whither 
old Geoffrey Keating had directed his steps some seventy- 
five years previously, and where several Irish families were 
still living to whom Louis XV, after the example of his 
ancestor Louis XIV, had assigned apartments in an old 

The Keating family had no need of support or assistance 
from their new-found friends upon their arrival in France, 
as Redmund Keating had acquired what was considered a 
handsome property from the practice of law. After a short 
stay at St. Germain, therefore, they moved to Poitiers, 
where the sons liad formerly attended the Jesuit school. 
There, Redmimd having relinquished his right by primo- 

14 John Keating and Ins Forbears 

geniture, letters patent of nobility were granted Valentine 
by Louis XV in recognition of his rank in Ireland. They 
purchased an estate in the neighborhood of the town, known 
as Cicogne, and there Valentine and Redmund lived and 
died. The family consisted of nine children, five boys and 
four girls. The oldest, Geoffrey, upon whom, at his father's 
death, the title devolved, followed a mercantile pursuit, mar- 
ried into an old French family, lived with his wife on her 
estate in Poitou, and died in 1841 childless. The second son, 
Thomas, entered the French army, was given a commission 
in the Walsh (formerly Dorrington) regiment of the Irish 
Brigade — the same in which his grandfather had served. 
John and William, twins, born September 20, 1760, were 
sent to the College of the English Benedictines at Douay in 
Flanders, and the daughters in time were suitably married 
to scions of the French nobility. After graduating, both 
John and William obtained commissions in the same regi- 
ment of Walsh, and finally, after France had declared war 
on behalf of the American Colonies, the youngest son, Red- 
mund, secured a like commission. So there were at the 
same time four brothers, officers in the same regiment. 
Count Walsh Serrant was the colonel of the regiment, him- 
self of an old Irish family and ever afterwards John Keat- 
ing's intimate friend. The battalion in which Thomas, John 
and Redmund served was included in a fleet of 150 vessels 
which sailed for ]\Iartinique under Count de Guichen in Jan- 
uary, 1780. Thomas took part in three engagements with 
Admiral Rodney, was captured and afterwards exchanged, 
while Redmund and John were engaged in the capture of the 
Island of Tobago. Soon afterwards preparations were made 
for an expedition the object of which was kept secret. Sev- 
eral detachments of dift'erent regiments were ordered to be 
ready. Twelve hundred men were put on board three frig- 
ates and smaller vessels, John's being among them, and the 
fleet sailed under command of M. de Bouille, it being the 

John Keating and his Forbears 15 

general belief that the destination was North America. 
After they had proceeded some distance they were met by 
a sloop-of-war sent by Count de Grasse, to inform them of 
the taking of Yorktown and surrender of Cornwallis. 
Thereupon they changed their course and made for the 
Island of St. Eustatius which had recently been taken from 
the French by Admiral Rodney. This they stormed and 
captured, taking 700 English prisoners. John's description 
of the fight is interesting as indicating the primitive mode 
of fighting as compared with ours, in those days. It is as 
follows : 

" The Irish detachment were to pass themselves for Brit- 
ish troops sent for the benefit of their health from the Island 
of St. Lucy to St. Eustatius. We were provided with mat- 
tresses to throw upon the thorny, prickly pears that grew in 
the ditches that surround the fort, for the escalading of 
which we had ladders. All seemed well calculated. Our 
information, however, proved false to the last degree. The 
bay we landed in was crowded with rocks ; every boat was 
stove in; the men had to w^ade in the water; our cartridges 
were wet; we were surrounded by high mountains and no 
means of getting up to the top but by a ravine formed by 
the rains. We fortunately had two or three ladders with 
us without which we could not have reached the top. We 
had taken them to escalade the fort. About four o'clock in 
the morning of November 25, 1781, M. de Bouille mus- 
tered the troops, gave no sign of dismay and only said, 
' Le vin est tire, il faut le boire.' He marched at the head 
of the Irish. We had to pass in view and under a high hill 
called Panga, where a watch of a few men were stationed 
to keep a lookout, and by firing of guns give signals of the 
approach of vessels. One or two of them had slept in town, 
contrary to orders, and the others were seized asleep by 
surprise. To this may be attributed the success of the ex- 
pedition. We continued our march and at sunrise we got a 

1 6 John Keaiing and his Forbears 

view of the town and of the troop that was going to mount 
guard. The road was imbedded in thick and high hedges; 
our arms were carried horizontally to prevent the sun shin- 
ing on them. We ran along bent almost in two till we came 
to an opening into the field where the British troops were 
parading. We immediately drew up in battle and marched 
towards them. Our poor and scanty firing was the first 
signal of an enemy — unprepared and astonished, they fled 
in every direction. 

'' The Governor, Col. Cockburn, who was distinguished 
for his bravery in North America, having seen vessels far 
out at sea, and nevertheless no signals made, galloped for 
his usual ride to the parade ground and addressed himself 
to us to know what was the matter. Being told by one of 
our officers, Mr. Trant, that he was a prisoner, he made off, 
but, being fired on, surrendered. The fort was immediately 
attacked; the pont levis was not drawn up, there was a 
hard struggle there, but some French officers bore it down 
and opened a passage to their men. The fort was then 
surrendered. The English troops, amounting to about 600 
or 700 men of the 13th and 15th Regiments that had served 
in North America, were taken successively ; they were quar- 
tered with the inhabitants, had no general place of ren- 
dezvous, were so bewildered on seeing an enemy of whose 
landing or approach they had not the least idea and whose 
numerical force was announced to be some thousands, 
whereas there were not above 400. ... I remained on the 
island. There was a considerable sum of money remaining 
in the hands of the Governor, the proceeds of sales of prizes 
made by Admiral Rodney. This sum was divided amongst 
the fleet and army, the first instance of land forces receiving 
any prize money. All other moneys found in the Gover- 
nor's house in bags with the owner's names were restored 
to them, as also the keys of their cisterns; every kind of 
vexation was done away with. The island was held by the 

Born 1675; Died 1731 

JoJin Keating and his Forbears ly 

French for the Dutch, for whom a civil governor, M. Cha- 
bert, was named. The garrison was commanded by Cap- 
tain Fitzmaurice of Walsh's regiment." 

In the meantime Thomas Keating became aide-de-camp 
to the Governor of Tobago and Redmimd was sent to a 
port where three of his predecessors had died of fever, and 
he soon succumbed himself. Thomas at this time must 
have seen service in the United States also, though there is 
no mention of it ; for he was afterwards elected an honorar}' 
member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati, 
which could not have been the case had he not been asso- 
ciated with the Revolution. Then in 1783, after peace was 
concluded, the two brothers returned with their regiment 
to France and in 1788 the regiment received orders to sail 
for Mauritius, otherwise known as the Isle of France, in 
the Indian Ocean. John and William were included in the 
orders, John sailing aboard the Penelope, a fine frigate of 
44 guns. She ran ashore at the Cape of Good Hope and 
became a total loss, thirty-five men and the second in com- 
mand being lost. The remainder continued the voyage in 
another frigate. After a year's stay on Mauritius, the 
regiment was ordered to return to France. 

In the meantime William Keating, John's twin brother, 
being stationed with a detachment in the District of Grand 
Port on that island, met with the daughter of a prominent 
planter by name of Rochecouste, a native of France, and 
fell in love with her. " She belonged." as John Keating 
says in his narrative, " to all the most influential and noble 
families of the Island." He resigned from the army, mar- 
ried her, settled on the island, and left a numerous progeny, 
many of whom still survive in France and in the island of 
Mauritius and in the United States. His eldest son, as will 
later be seen, was sent to Philadelphia to his uncle John to 
be educated, and there married John's daughter, his cousin, 
and from him are descended the present Keating family of 

i8 John Keating and his Forbears 

Philadelphia. Of his two younger sons, Valentin and Red- 
mond, the former inherited from his aunt, wife of Baron 
Geoffrey Keating, the property known as Le Plessis in Poi- 
tou, France. He married Mile, de Buttie of Mauritius and 
left one son, William, who married Mile, de Flacourt and 
left a son, Patrick. The latter lives on his patrimony in 
France, and occupies a high position in the Magistracy of 
the Government. He married Mile, de Sampigny and has 
one son, William, and other children. He and his children 
are the only representatives bearing the name of Keating in 
France, descended in the male line from William Keating, 
and there is no such representative in Mauritius. In Amer- 
ica, however, William's oldest son, Jerome, is still repre- 
sented in the male line. In addition to his son, Valentin, 
William Keating, by his wife Brigitte de Rochecouste, had 
six daughters, all of whom married, and emigrated with 
their families to France and England, where the descend- 
ants of several of them still live, as is indicated on the 
genealogical table appended to this sketch. 

William Keating's other son, Redmond, married his 
cousin, Mile, de Rochecouste and had ten children, five sons 
and five daughters. All the sons died unmarried; the 
daughters all married and had families. Some of them still 
live in ]Mauritius, others moved to France, as is also indi- 
cated on the genealogical table. Some have been authorized 
by law to add the name Keating to their surname. After his 
death, William Keating's widow married M. Izouard, a 
merchant living in Mauritius, and had three daughters. Of 
her John Keating says : " T never ceased corresponding with 
her, and the more I heard or knew of her, the more my 
affection and esteem increased." (The genealogical table as 
regards the French relatives, owing to distance, &c., &:c., is 
necessarily incomplete and possibly to some extent inac- 

Following, then, the subsequent career of John Keating, 

John Keating and his Forbears 19 

he sailed from Alauritius with the regiment. They were 
driven out of their course by contrary winds, and through 
faihire of provisions were forced to land in Martinique in 
the West Indies, but not without being put into peril by 
hre which broke out amidships and came near destroy- 
ing the vessel. At Martinique they got their first news 
of the outbreak of the Revolution and took the tri-color 
cockade. There, too, John Keating was introduced to 
Madame de Beauharnais, the future Empress Josephine, 
who it will be remembered was a native of Martinique 
and had not as yet entered upon her wonderful career. 
Sailing thence to France, after a voyage of six months 
from Alauritius, they found the most extraordinary change 
to have taken place since their departure. John describes 
it in the following words : '' We found the country in a 
great state of consternation and confusion and were aston- 
ished to see and hear all that was going on. We had to 
yield to the impulse given and to submit to the dictates 
and caprices of demagogues scarcely known before the 
Revolution. Our own station was in Britany, and of course 
close to the seaport; we received orders in the end of 1791 
to embark for San Domingo where the greatest troubles 
were threatening that fine island with desolation and mur- 
der. Previous to my departure I received the cross of St. 
Louis by commission dated November 2y, 1791." 

Thomas Keating did not accompany the regiment. He 
had been promoted to the colonelcy of the 87th or " Dillon " 
regiment of the Irish Brigade. From that point his subse- 
quent promotion was rapid until he became a general of 
brigade. He participated in the whole campaign in Bel- 
gium in 1793, in command of a portion of the Army of the 
North which acted as advance guard under La Marliere, 
in the taking of Antwerp and in the battle of Nerwingham, 
and he was temporary commandant at Ruzimonde, Bou- 
logne, Montreuil and I\Tesdin. Then, as might well be ex- 

20 John Keating and his Forbears ■ 

pected, owing to his family affiliations, notwithstanding the 
universal testimony of his brother officers of his loyalty to 
the army, he began to be suspected of monarchical sympa- 
thies. He was removed from his command and thrown 
into the prison of La Force, where he remained eighteen 
months during the Reign of Terror, and but for Robes- 
pierre's downfall would have been guillotined with the other 
victims. The testimonials of his brother officers are among 
the family papers and indicate his great popularity in the 
army. He died at the family home at Cicogne in 1795 at 
the age of forty-two, a victim to lung trouble brought on 
by his imprisonment. 

It may be noted here as a matter of interest that Thomas 
Keating also was awarded the Cross of St. Louis, his com- 
mission bearing date December 20, 1786. Both his and 
John's commissions are still retained in the family, and a 
pathetic significance attaches to a comparison of the phrase- 
ology of the one with that of the other. Both are signed by 
the King. The first, being granted in 1786, purports to 
emanate from the King in the full panoply of his power. 
" Louis, par la Grace de Dieu, Roi de France et de Na- 
varre," Between that date and the date of John's commis- 
sion there were events of serious import, and the commis- 
sion to John in 1791 is headed " La Nation La Loi et Le 
Roi." The King had indeed fallen from his high estate, 
and now ranked third in the order of power and precedence. 
And in the following year he lost his crown and his head. 
Thomas's various commissions in the army from sub-lieu- 
tenant to general, and John's, also, to captain, are likewise 
preserved, together with such ancient documents as the orig- 
inal lease by Thady Quin to Geoffrey Keating, the permits 
by the Lords Justices to GeoftVey to return to the Kingdom 
in 1696, the certificate of his trial and acquittal, the copies 
of parish records of births of John's ancestors, and the orig- 
inal letters patent of nobility from the French King, as also 
narratives of Valentine Keating and his son Geoffrev — all 

Jolin Keating and his Forbears 21 

of these documents serving only as relics and reminders of 
an era past and gone, utterly foreign to the world of today. 
John's trip with his regiment to San Domingo was any- 
thing but pleasant. Meeting with contrary winds, and com- 
pelled to seek the Canary Islands for shelter, obliged to seek 
another ship on account of unseaworthiness, confronted 
with mutiny among the soldiers owing to their having im- 
bibed the principles of the Revolution, their progress was 
slow, and it w^as six months after their departure from 
France before they reached their destination. John's ex- 
perience on his arrival and his subsequent actions may be 
best explained in his own words. " I soon perceived from 
what I witnessed and from what I learned from the officers 
who had been for some time on the Island that it was im- 
possible that the military and civil commissioners Polverel 
and Santhonax, sent by the Convention, could agree, and 
that some great blow was unavoidable. The moment was at 
last come, the military seemed to predominate, and deter- 
mined at the end of September (1792) to seize the Com- 
missioners and send them to France. In less than half an 
hour, when all the military corps were under arms, they 
turned their backs on their officers, sided with the commis- 
sioners and forced all their officers to embark for France. 
Amongst them were the Governor, Lt. General Count 
d'Esparbes, M. de Blancheland and M. Tousard, well known 
in the United States. At the demand of the 92d Regiment, 
backed by the Commissioner Santhonax, I had to take the 
temporary command of the Regiment. I was resolved, how- 
ever, to give it up as soon as possible and leave the Island." 
And in another place he says : "A few days were sufficient 
to convince me that there was nothing to be gained by a 
stay on that Island owing to the divisions prevailing among 
its inhabitants and the troops. The blacks were in full in- 
surrection. The whole country was in their power. The 
plantations had all been burned, the whites and the troops 

22 John Keating and his Forbears 

were confined to the town; there was no union, no confi- 
dence. The whole population divided into parties and fac- 
tions, and all complaining and condemning one another. 
The arrival of a large body of troops did not allay the dis- 
content. The 92nd Regiment insisted upon my remaining 
to take the command, which I complied with by order of the 
Civil Commissioner, but on condition, as my commission 
mentions, that it should be but a temporary act, as I could 
not acknowledge any right in troops to dismiss and name 
their officers at pleasure. All my efforts now tended to 
facilitate my departure. I obtained permission from M. 
Santhonax and from General Rochambeau, who had suc- 
ceeded to the Government of the Island, to go to France or 
to the United States. I preferred the latter. . . . My reason 
for preferring the United States was that I was very doubt- 
ful, notwithstanding the opinion of many, whether the 
Prussian army under the Duke of Brunswick had reached 
Paris and put an end to the Revolution. Though the Civil 
Commissioner Santhanox has been universally looked upon 
as a very bad character and as having been the greatest pro- 
moter of the misfortunes which have befallen San Domingo, 
I must say that during the five or six weeks in my official 
capacity I had to do business with him directly I found him 
much better disposed than I had any reason to expect; he 
granted me everything that I called for. He promoted those 
that I represented as victims of insubordination of the sol- 
diers and facilitated to some the means of leaving the 
Island. As respects myself, he rendered me ever\' ser\'ice 
I asked for." 

John Keating was at this time thirty-two years of age, a 
captain in the French service, placed in temporary command 
of the troops in San Domingo, but on the eve of dissociating 
himself for good from his past environment and entering 
upon an entirely new career in the land of promise. " I 
sailed," says he. " from Cape Franc-ois at the end of No- 

JoJin Keating and his Forbears 23 

vember, 1792, on board a frigate with M. de Blacons. We 
got up to Philadelphia the eve of Christmas, which was 
then kept very strictly. ' We were received at the widow 
Papley's the day after Christmas." The widow Papley's 
was a well-known boarding-house in those days, and a re- 
sort of many of the prominent emigres fleeing from the 
horrors of the French Revolution. " I must add," he says, 
" that when I landed in the United States all my means of 
support did not exceed $280 and all my recommendations 
or introductions were two letters : one from General Ro- 
chambeau to General Washington and another from M. 
Santhonax to M. de la Forest the French Consul at Phila- 
delphia. My only acquaintance was my fellow-traveller the 
Marquis de Blacons, by whom I got acquainted successively 
with the emigrants of note from France, especially with M. 
de Talon and Vicomte de Noailles." General Washington 
was, of course, at the time President of the United States 
and the capitol was at Philadelphia ; so it is to be assimied 
that the letter of introduction from the son of his old asso- 
ciate in arms, Rochambeau, was duly presented to the Presi- 
dent, though John Keating makes no reference to the inci- 
dent. As to de la Forest, the letter of introduction was the 
beginning of a friendship which became closer and closer 
with the lapse of time and descended from father to son for 
three generations. 

Inasmuch as the association with Messrs. Noailles and 
Talon had much to do with John Keating's subsequent 
career, a brief metion of them may not be out of place. 
Noailles had come to America with his brother-in-law, La- 
fayette, and was the officer designated by Washington to 
receive on the part of the French the sword of Cornwallis 
at the surrender. After our Revolution he returned to 
France, was a deputy of the nobility in the States General 
in May, 1789, and as a member of the National Assembly 
on August 4 of that year proposed the acts whereby the 

24 Jolin Keating and his Forbears 

whole feudal system was swept away. Falling, it is said, 
under the displeasure of Robespierre, his estates were con- 
fiscated and he was sentenced to death. He escaped to Eng- 
land and thence sailed for the United States, where he lived 
for a while in Philadelphia, having formed a partnership 
with William Bingham. After the Revolution he returned 
to France, served under Napoleon and lost his life in a 
naval engagement off Havana. Omer Talon was just John 
Keating's age. He was a ro3^alist member of the National 
Assembly in France, escaped to Havre, where his friends 
put him in a cask and took him aboard an American vessel 
bound for Philadelphia. There he became an American 
citizen and kept open house for his exiled countrymen. 

Talon and de Noailles at the time of John Keating's arrival 
in Philadelphia were interested in projects having to do with 
the acquisition of large bodies of land in Pennsylvania and 
elsewhere, and the settlement of refugees then arriving in 
large numbers from France and San Domingo. They asked 
John Keating to join them, though he was of course with- 
out means, and, as he says, they had never known him be- 
fore. The Asylum Company was the project then in hand, 
and inasmuch as Mr. Griffin's article and the very interest- 
ing book of Mrs. Louise Welles Murray entitled "Azilum" 
give the fullest particulars as to its origin, management and 
outcome, only a word need be said about it here. Robert 
Morris, the financier of the Revolution, and John Nicholson 
owned enormous tracts of land in the eastern section of the 
United States which they desired to develop. With these 
two Frenchmen, for the purpose of attracting foreign set- 
tlers, they formed in 1794 the Asylum Company, of which 
Morris was made president, and proceeded to secure a large 
tract on the North branch of the Susquehanna River, now 
part of Bradford County; and John Keating was made one 
of the three managers and the intermediary between the 
owners in Philadelphia and those on the ground, dividing 

Born 1775: Died 1803 

John Keating and his Forbears 25 

his time between the two places. Many colonists resorted 
thither and for a time it was a thriving settlement. It was 
generally supposed that Asylum was planned for Queen 
Marie Antoinette, for some of the houses were known as 
the '' Queen's houses." But the poor Queen was guillo- 
tined late in 1793, long before her accommodations were in 
readiness for her. The project finally failed, not only for 
want of financial backing, but because, as I apprehend, the 
emigres were not an agricultural people and could not 
therefore adapt themselves to a life in the wilds of Penn- 
sylvania. Accordingly, when Napoleon invited the emigres 
to return to France, the days of Asylum were numbered. 

The settlement, however, remained active for many years. 
In the diary (published in 1916) of Bishop Francis Patrick 
Kenrick, at that time coadjutor Bishop, and afterwards 
Bishop of Philadelphia and then Archbishop of Baltimore, 
occurs the following entry: " Sept. 15, 1835 — After a jour- 
ney of about 20 miles I arrived at a French colony which, 
though there is no town erected, has got the name of French- 
ville. I remained there two days and celebrated Mass in 
the home of Mr. Moulson on the i6th and 17th. I gave 
Confirmation to 12 and Holy Communion to 47. I find that 
there are 38 French families here. They propose soon to 
build a church. Mr. John Keating was there with me. This 
colony owes its origin to him. The example of his piety 
and his kind thoughtfulness were a great help to me. He 
came with me, as I was leaving, as far as the town of Clear- 

De la Rochefoucauld, in his most interesting Travels 
through the United States in 1795, a book which was in 
everybody's hands a century ago, referring to the settle- 
ment, speaks of John Keating as one of the managers in the 
following terms : " Mr. Keating is an Irishman and late 
Captain of the regiment Walsh. At the beginning of the 
Revolution he was in San Domingo, where he possessed the 

26 John Keating and his Forbears 

confidence of all parties, but refused the most tempting- 
offers of the Commissioners of the Assembly, though his 
sentiments were truly democratic. It was his choice and 
determination to return to America without a shilling in his 
pocket rather than to acquire power and opulence in San 
Domingo by violating his first oath. He is a man of un- 
common merit, distinguished abilities, extraordinary virtue 
and invincible disinterestedness. His advice and prudence 
have proved extremely serviceable to M. Talon in every 
department of his business. It was he who negotiated the 
late arrangement between Messrs. Morris and Nicholson, 
and it may be justly said that the confidence which his un- 
common abilities and virtue inspire enables him to adjust 
matters of dispute with much greater facility than most 
persons." Alexander Grayson, in his Memoirs of his ozvn 
Times (1846) gives us a little picture of the social side of 
the project, as follows : " A letter from IMajor Adam 
Hoopes of about the year 1790 or 1791 introduced me to 
Mr. Talon, then engaged with the Viscount de Noailles in 
establishing a settlement on the north branch of the Sus- 
quehanna, to which he gave the name of Asylum. In the 
course of this business he several times passed through 
Harrisburg, and never failed on these occasions of giving 
me the opportunity of seeing him. Mr. Talon fully justi- 
fied in my conception the favorable idea that is given by 
Lord Chesterfield and others of a Frenchman of rank. I 
have seldom seen a gentleman with whose manners I was 
more pleased. . . . On one of his visits to Harrisburg he 
was attended by not less than ten or a dozen gentlemen, all 
adventurers in the new establishment from which they had 
just returned on their way to Philadelphia. Of these I only 
recollect the names of M. de Blacon. Captain Keating and 
Captain Boileau. My brother and myself, who had waited 
on them at their inn, were kept to supper, and I have rarely 
passed a more agreeable evening. The refreshment of a 

J aim Keating and J lis Forbears 2y 

good meal, coffee and wine had put in motion their natural 
vivacity, and the conversation, carried on in English, which 
many of the company spoke very well, was highly animated. 
Captain Keating was, in fact, an Irishman, and Captain 
Boileau had been among the troops which had served in this 
country. . . . The French Revolution being touched upon, 
it came into my head to ask Captain Boileau how it happened 
that he and the other gentlemen who had been in America, 
and must of course have been foremost in circulating the 
doctrine of liberty in France, were now so entirely in the 
background. His answer was interrupted by a loud and 
general laugh, and Talon, who had probably been averse to 
the Revolution in all its stages and modifications (as he was 
the person on account of whose courteous reception General 
Washington had been roundly taken to task by the citizen 
Genet), enjoyed the thing so much that he thought it worth 
remembering, and put me in mind of it in an interview with 
him a long time afterwards. This gentleman did apparently 
stand high in the confidence of the King, as on once dining 
with him at his lodgings he, at the instance of a French 
lady from St. Domingo, who was present and had observed 
that I was infected with the regicide mania, showed me his 
picture on the lid of a box studded with diamonds that had 
been presented him by his Majesty." 

John Keating became a citizen of the United States Jan- 
uary 20, 1795. The land speculations of Morris and Nichol- 
son afforded a very tempting bait to the French emigres, and 
in one way or another Keating became associated with vari- 
ous enterprises of the kind besides the Asylum project, so 
that his time was entirely absorbed, and this became the 
business of his life. People who came over for purpose of 
temporary residence only until the reign of the guillotine 
was over, would purchase wild land and vest the title in 
John Keating, leaving it to him to manage and sell accord- 
ing to his best judgment. A transaction with his friend 

28 John Keating and his Forbears 

Noailles gives us a little insight into his doings in those 
days. John's twin brother William, as we have seen, was 
settled as a planter in the Isle of France, known as Mau- 
ritius, and rearing a large family. Viewing the situation in 
the French dependencies as precarious owing to the Revo- 
lution, he determined to settle his eldest son, Jerome, born 
in 1792 and then a child of four or five years of age, in 
America and sent him in charge of a colored nurse only, 
consigned to Thomas Fitzsimmons of Philadelphia under 
care of Captain Meany of the brig Rose, to be brought up 
and educated by his uncle — a long voyage, it must be ad- 
mitted, for so young a hopeful ; but he arrived safely none 
the worse for his trip. His father desiring also to remit 
funds to his brother for the benefit of the son, Noailles in- 
formed John Keating that his friend Nicholson had an 
agent in the Isle of France, and Nicholson agreed to honor 
any drafts that might be drawn on him in this way. When 
the draft was presented, however, Nicholson was in finan- 
cial difficulties, but Noailles, Avith whom he had business 
relations, agreed to assume the draft and accept in payment 
either certain lands in Tennessee or shares of the Asylum 
Company at his option. Nicholson and Morris were in such 
financial straits at the time that they were obliged to shut 
themselves off from their creditors by occupying a little 
house on the Schuylkill River; and thither John Keating 
journeyed on several occasions in arranging the particulars 
of the transaction. Noailles decided in favor of the Ten- 
nessee lands and gave Keating his personal bond for the 
draft. He also engaged Keating to go to Tennessee to 
record the deeds, look up the title and acquaint him with the 
situation generally. For this service Keating was to receive 
approximately 2,600 acres of the land and his expenses. 
Keating started from Philadelphia September 1 1 , 1 797, and 
was back in Philadelphia in the following November, hav- 
ing accomplished the mission entirely on horseback in 54 

John Kcatincj and his Forbears 29 

days to the entire satisfaction of Noailles. The bond was 
paid, but Noailles himself became financially embarrassed, 
sold the land without notice to Keating, and left for San 
Domingo without giving him his share or answering his 
letters, or even repaying him the expenses of his journey, 
which included the pay of a servant and the keep of two 
horses. Keating takes pains to say in his diary, however, 
that he freely forgave him, though he thinks it would have 
been more honorable for him to have frankly explained his 
condition. He feels sure, however, that it would have been 
a pleasure for Noailles to have satisfied his debt, as he was 
most generous and did not care for money for its own sake. 
Previous to this time Keating had made the acquaintance 
of Pierre Bauduy, the son of a planter of an old French 
family in San Domingo. His brother. Baron de Bauduy, 
afterwards became a general under Napoleon. Bauduy had 
married the daughter of M. J. Baptiste Bretton Descha- 
pelles, of a noble family in France, who had also owned a 
large sugar plantation in San Domingo, but had been forced 
to emigrate to America owing to the insurrection, and was 
living in Wilmington, Delaware. Another of M. Descha- 
pelles' daughters had married Marquis de Saqui, an admiral 
in the French service ; another the Marquis de Sassenay of 
Paris, whose descendant was a most devoted adherent of 
Napoleon Third and of the Empress Eugenie in her lonely 
widowhood. All the Deschapelles children, following the 
custom of the day in San Domingo, had been educated 
in France. Eulalia, the youngest daughter, was at that 
time twenty-two years of age and lived with her sister, Mrs. 
Bauduy, in Wilmington, their parents being dead. She was 
tall and handsome and of a most engaging personality. 
Bauduy, who had taken a great fancy to Keating, asked 
him down to Wilmington to dinner, and there he met the 
sister-in-law and fell in love with her. Some of his friends 
in Philadelphia favored the match, but, as he says in his 

30 John Keating and his Forbears 

diary, having no fortune he hesitated to address her. But 
he naively adds, " having learned that another proposed to 
do so " he hesitated no longer. He wrote Bauduy, asking 
him to be the bearer of his wishes. The letter was mailed 
the day of Keating's departure for Tennessee on the Noailles 
mission. Returning home by way of Washington and Bal- 
timore, he arrived in Wilmington, having had, of course, no 
answer to his letter and not knowing how he would be re- 
ceived. " There was company present and Eulalie, in her 
timidity, shrank from seeing me, lest my visit should occa- 
sion remark." So he left for Philadelphia, but returned 
occasionally for short visits. The old French mode of 
courtship was far different from that of the present day. 
For awhile she gave no answer, and they never spoke of it 
and were never alone. Finally the occasion presented itself. 
He was as much embarrassed as she was. She consented, 
however, and he kissed her hand, without however, as he 
says, taking her glove off, for he was " not used to the 
situation." The family received the news with delight and 
the usual French formalities were observed. A paper set- 
ting forth the consent of the Deschapelles family and friends 
to the union is a typical example of the old French custom 
and interesting as a relic of the "Ancien Regime". It de- 
clares it to be the unanimous opinion, after due deliberation, 
that the marriage is in every respect advantageous to the 
young lady and that provisions are satisfactory. The " pro- 
visions " were contained in a marriage settlement executed 
at the same time, which only goes to show upon what modest 
means people began housekeeping in those days. By this 
settlement she contributed her small interest in the family 
patrimony, her clothing and jewelry and a few shares in the 
Bank of Pennsylvania and Insurance Company of North 
America; and he contributed his intetrest in the estate at 
Poitiers in France, his rights to a commission in the agency 
of the Asylum Company, " which though certain, cannot 

John Keating and his Forbears 31 

be determined as yet," also the 2,600 acres in Tennessee 
which he expected to have, but never got, from Noailles, 
and 10 shares of the Asykim Company. The marriage took 
place December 11, 1797, at 6: 15 p. m., before Abbe Faure 
at the Bauduy house in Wilmington, there being no Cath- 
olic church in Wilmington at the time. The young couple 
took up their residence in Wilmington. Three children 
were born of this marriage, John Julius Geoffrey Keating, 
born September 16, 1798; Hypolite Louis William, born 
August II, 1799, and Eulalia Margaret, born September 
24, 1 801. Besides these John Keating, as has been seen, 
had adopted his nephew, Jerome, the son of his brother 
William. Their married life, alas, was very short, as we 
shall presently see. In the diary to which I have already re- 
ferred, written in French, and which is so taken up through 
many long years with the one engrossing thought of his 
wife's virtues as to neglect the details of his own career, he 
portrays her as follows : " She was large and stout, of a 
pretty figure, with dignity and reserve, beautiful eyes, a 
large mouth in which a few upper teeth were wanting, 
which however did not disfigure her countenance; she had 
a noble bearing and a fine memory, was well read and en- 
dowed with good judgment, but was modest and retiring. 
She disliked dressing, though it became her. She was abso- 
lutely devoid of vanity. She loved the domestic life with 
her children. She disliked compHments and never paid 
them. She had remarkably fine hands and arms." Her 
portrait, painted by Bonnemaison in Paris, bears out these 
physical attributes. 

In the same year of John Keating's marriage the Ceres 
Company, which was to form the principal occupation of 
his Hfe, took definite shape. Omer Talon had agreed to pur- 
chase 297,428 acres of land, composed of about 300 patents 
issued to William Bingham, situated in what was then en- 
tirely Lycoming County. By reason of the subsequent 

32 John Keating and his Forbears 

division of the county, the lands came to be located for the 
most part in McKean, Potter and Clearfield Counties. 
While the title was taken in Talon's name, it was purchased 
on behalf of a syndicate composed at that time of seven in- 
dividuals residing abroad and two in America, and they in 
turn were represented by the two well-known Dutch bank- 
ing houses of Raymond and Theodore de Smeth, and Con- 
dere, Brants and Changuion with whom Talon had his 
dealings. By the advice of Mr. Peter S. Duponceau, con- 
curred in by Jared Ingersoll and A. J. Dallas, names uni- 
versally regarded as the choicest ornaments of the Phila- 
delphia Bar of those days, in order to meet the obstacle 
occasioned by diversity of interests and the provisions of 
the law limiting alien legal ownership, the title was vested 
in three individuals in joint tenancy with a secret declara- 
tion of trust vesting the disposition of the proceeds of the 
land in the foreign houses. John Keating, through whom 
the negotiations as regards title, etc., had been conducted, 
was named trustee together with Richard Gernon, a me- 
chant of Philadelphia, and John S. Roulet, a merchant of 
New York; and Keating was constituted manager of the 
whole enterprise for the sale of the lands in small parcels 
to settlers. As each trustee died, another replaced him, at 
the selection of the foreign houses. The business gradually 
expanded, local agents were employed, and the towns of 
Smethport (in McKean County), named after the head of 
one of the foreign houses, and Coudersport (in Potter 
County), named after the head of the other house, became 
the county-seats of their respective counties. The town of 
Ceres was named after the company, and I am led to be- 
lieve the town of Keating after John Keating himself. 
The business was finally wound up in 1884 by Keating's 
grandson, the late Dr. William V. Keating, after having 
realized upwards of a million dollars. In addition to this, 
John Keating personally, as we have said, held title to, or 

John Keating and his Forbears 33 

had the management of, thousands of acres in the same 
region on behalf of individuals, among them M. Pearron de 
Serennes of Paris, Messrs. Patrick and Richard Gemon, 
formerly residents of Philadelphia, Vicomte de Neuville, 
formerly French Ambassador to Washington, Cornelius C. 
Six, of Amsterdam and New York, Peter Provenchere, 
Comte d'Orbigny, both French emigres, and the Descha- 
pelles family. In all these relations, extending over a 
period of sixty years, neither his word nor his judgment 
was ever questioned. And in this connection it may not be 
out of place to quote the following passage from jMr. A. H. 
Espenshade's book on Pennsylvania Place Names. " Ac- 
cording to a prominent citizen of McKean County, it is due 
to the memory of John Keating to say that from the earliest 
settlement of this County to the time of his death his watch- 
ful care over it and anxiety for its progress, his sympathy 
with the sufferings and privations of the settlers, and his 
readiness to help in every possible way partook more of the 
character of the care of a father over his children than a 
capitalist over a business enterprise." It is only proper to 
add in this connection that his choice of agents largely con- 
tributed to the success of the enterprise and the good-will 
it enjoyed from the settlers. Francis King, the pioneer sur- 
veyor of those regions, John S. Mann and Byron D. Hamlin 
are all names held in the highest veneration in that section 
of the country, and the Ceres Company, otherwise known in 
that region as Keating and Company, owes much of its local 
repute to their association with it. 

Some four years after his marriage, while he was living 
in Wilmington, certain differences arose between Talon and 
the proprietors regarding Talon's profit in the transaction. 
Keating, of course, was familiar with the entire matter, 
and with the knowledge of all parties had been paid a com- 
mission by Talon for his services. He was prevailed upon 
by both sides to act as arbitrator in the dispute, despite his 

34 John Keating and his Forbears 

reluctance owing to his own connection with it. The em- 
ployment involved a voyage to Amsterdam w^here all the 
facts were to be submitted and the decision rendered. He 
went alone, leaving his little family in Wilmingon and 
sailing September 5, 1801, by the ship Felicity, Captain 
Reed, bound from Philadelphia for Liverpool. A trip 
abroad was managed differently in those days from what it 
is now. He was seated at dinner in his Wilmington home 
when the ship was sighted in the Delaware, and he imme- 
diately proceeded to Newcastle, where the Felicity hove to 
in order to take him and his luggage aboard. The parting 
must have been trying, for his wife was about to be con- 
fined of her third child. After her death he found in her 
drawer a letter written to him in his absence in the belief 
that she would not survive the child's birth. The premoni- 
tion was prophetic, for she did, indeed, afterwards die in 
his absence (though not on this particular voyage) under 
similar circumstances. Proceeding to Amsterdam after a 
voyage of six weeks he met the bankers, and being assured 
of their entire confidence reviewed the evidence and, after 
long deliberation, gave his decision, which met with the 
entire satisfaction of all parties. In the meantime he had 
joined his relations in Poitou, where his elder brother, 
Geoffrey, was living, and renewed all his old associations. 
It was during the Napoleonic regime and there is no record 
of his doings. The family suffered by the Revolution, but 
to what extent does not appear. He sailed for home July 
14, 1802, on the Atlantic, Captain Chew, arriving in New 
York September 3rd, met his wife at Frankford, Philadel- 
phia, whither she had gone to greet him, and reached home 
the day following to see for the first time his little daughter. 
After his return home from abroad John Keating occu- 
pied himself assiduously with his landed interests. In a 
letter to the Dutch bankers written in 1822 he explains that 
the settlers are people practically without means. They 

Born 1792; Died 1833 


John Keating and his Forbears 35 

usually arrive, men, women and children, afoot with a horse 
to carry their effects and sometimes with a cow ; they stop 
near the rivers and creeks in places least wooded ; and there, 
with the aid of a neighbor, build a miserable cabin, plant 
com and rely on the chase and some jobs for others for 
their sustenance. They were of French, Irish, English and 
German stock, and furnish a strong contrast with the im- 
migrants of a later day who crowded our cities instead of 
planting themselves upon the soil and reaping the fruits of 
industrious tillage. John Keating would make annual trips 
to the lands and report his doings in elaborate letters to the 
bankers, every one of which he copied in letter books, 
according to the custom of the day. In those days journeys 
of the kind involved weeks of laborious travel, cut off 
almost entirely from communication with the world and 
attended by privations and even danger. Horseback was 
the principal mode of travel, and while the hospitality of 
the settler could always be relied on, yet where no settler 
was to be found the bare ground proved to be the only 
available resting place. He alwa3's insisted upon meeting 
the settlers personally and interesting himself in all the en- 
terprises whereby to develop the country. The churches^ 
schools and roads form the main subject of his correspond- 
ence with the agents. The Catholic Church of St. Eulalia 
in Coudersport was built principally by his help and named 
after his wife, and all the other Catholic churches and settle- 
ments throughout the company's possessions had his active 
interest, encouragement and assistance, not to mention the 
good will and co-operation he ever displayed towards all 
other denominational and public and private enterprises 
of like nature. He would sometimes enter the lands by 
Williamsport and Jersey Shore and sometimes by Belle- 
fonte and thence to Karthaus, and he was appointed in 
1823 one of the commissioners to organize the Jersey 
Shore and Coudersport Turnpike Company. It may seem 

36 John Keating and his Forbears 

to us, in this era of rapid transit, somewhat amusing to 
read in one of his letters to the bankers : " I cannot give 
a better proof of the happy results which will accrue 
from the completion of the turnpike than to say that on 
the fifth day after leaving Philadelphia (via Williamsport 
and Jersey Shore) we slept fourteen miles from Couders- 
port. Had the road been built, we would have gone the 
entire distance in a carriage in four days and a half." 
Today a single night accomplishes the journey. He fur- 
ther cites as an indication of the marvelous progress of the 
times, that that year the mail was to be carried by wagon 
from Philadelphia to St. Louis. He rarely failed, while 
on these visits, to extend the journey to Geneseo, the home 
of his old friend, General James Wadsworth, who main- 
tained a regal establishment there on the finest farm in 
western New York and dispensed a generous hospitality. 
The two families were on terms of the closest intimacy. 
It was on the Turnpike Road above referred to that Ole 
Bull, the great violinist, at his own expense, about the year 
1832, settled some 250 Norwegians. The settlement was 
not a success, however, and Mr. Bull admitted that he had 
been a loser by the transaction by about $60,000. 

It was while he was making one of these periodical trips 
that the tragic event occurred which marred his whole life 
and happiness during the remaining fifty years of his ex- 
istence. He relates the incident in substance as follows : 
He had quitted his wife, who was in the best of health, 
Monday, July 18, 1803, at 5 a. m. to go with her brother- 
in-law, Pierre Bauduy, to Cerestown. Having accomplished 
his visit, he arrived in Williamsport August 28. On his 
return journey he was surprised to receive no letter from 
her, but instead one from Mr. Provenchere, a relative of 
hers, advising him that she was sick. At Lancaster he re- 
ceived another letter advising him that she was no better. 
Traveling all night on horseback by moonlight, they arrived 

John Keating and his Forbears 37 

September 2nd at Wilmington, having traveled 170 miles 
in three days. He rushed into the house by the back door 
and ran upstairs, entering her room only to find it vacant. 
She had expired August 4th and was buried in the Old 
Swedes burying-ground, there being as 3'et no Catholic 
church in Wilmington ajid a section of the churchyard hav- 
ing been allotted to Catholics. From that time forth his 
thoughts were alwa3'S with her, and it is stated by an eye- 
witness that fifty-three years afterwards, when about to die, 
he turned his eyes toward her portrait and expired while 
gazing at it. The diary to which I have referred, which 
was kept for many years solely for the purpose of recording 
her virtues, abounds in the most tender and passionate ex- 
pressions of love, admiration and regret. It manifests also 
the deep religious faith which sustained him in his terrible 
grief and never wavered till the day of his death. He was 
thus left alone with the charge of three infant children and 
the nephew, a boy of about eleven years of age. Mrs. Keat- 
ing's relative, Mr. Provenchere, was a French refugee of 
an old and distinguished family. He had been the tutor to 
the Duke de Berri, second son of Charles Tenth, and was 
in constant correspondence with the Duke himself and 
afterwards his widow and the Due D'Angouleme, heir to 
the Bourbon throne, during those Napoleonic days. He 
lived with his widowed daughter, and being desirous, on his 
daughter's account, of moving to Philadelphia. John Keat- 
ing, who found himself for the most part in Philadelphia 
on account of his business, joined the Provencheres in 1808 
in taking a house there. No. 183 S. 5th Street, then in the 
best residence district. There the children passed their 
childhood in an atmosphere wherein culture and piety were 
combined in such way as the French knew how to unite 
them without exaggeration or ostentation. Jerome, the 
nephew, upon arriving at a suitable age, was sent to St. 
Mary's College, Baltimore,, then known as one of the best 

38 John Keating and his Forbears 

educational institutions in the country, to which the Protes- 
tant community had recourse as well as the Catholics of our 
city. Among the leaders of our Bar who afterwards were 
educated within its walls may be mentioned Mr. George W. 
Biddle, Mr. Pemberton Morris and Mr. W. Heyward Dray- 
ton. The two sons received their education at the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania. John Julius studied law and was ad- 
mitted to the Bar in 181 8. That he soon attained distinc- 
tion is evidenced by the fact that in the unhappy contro- 
versy which arose in 182 1 between Bishop Conwell and the 
priest Hogan, which is so fully and ably treated by Mr. 
Griffin in the pages of the American Catholic Historical 
Records, Keating, young as he was, represented the Bishop. 
He was soon afterwards elected to the State Legislature 
and gave promise of a most enviable career as a lawyer and 
a citizen. On May 19, 1824, he married Elizabeth Hop- 
kinson, daughter of Judge Joseph Hopkinson, the Federal 
Judge in Philadelphia, and granddaughter of the Signer, 
one of the most attractive women of her day, who lived to 
be ninety years of age and w^hose memory is a blessing to 
those who knew her. Within six weeks after this most 
happy marriage the young husband was taken with a fever 
and died in his twenty-sixth year, to the infinite distress of 
his father and the regret of a large circle of friends. In 
his most interesting diary, happily preserved among the 
records of the American Catholic Historical Society. Father 
Kenny, the parish priest of Coffee Run, about six miles 
from Wilmington, who had known the Keatings intimately 
in Wilmington — their house being for years before their 
departure the Catholic Church of Wilmington — makes the 
following minute : " July 28, 1S24, Funeral of Julius Keat- 
ing in Wilmington — melancholy scene indeed. William and 
Jerome supporting John Keating, the visibly overwhelmed 

His hopes and pride then centered upon his second son, 

Jolin Keating and his Forbears 39 

William. After graduating at the University of Pennsyl- 
vania in 18 1 6, he was sent to Paris to study mineralog}% 
metallurgy and kindred branches to which his talents were 
inclined. There he roomed with his cousin Valentine, the 
second son of his uncle, William Keating, of IMauritius, 
thus keeping in touch with his nearest relatives living at the 
other side of the earth. Returning home, he became pro- 
fessor of Chemistry and ^Mineralogy as applied to the arts 
at the University of Pennsylvania from 1822 to 1827, after 
which he was sent to Mexico to pass upon certain mining 
enterprises. In the meantime he had employed a summer 
vacation accompanying Major Long in his expedition 
through Minnesota and Canada, tracing the source of the 
St. Peter (now the Minnesota) River, as the mineralogist 
and historian of the party. His book on the subject is the 
authorized history of the expedition. He then studied law, 
was admitted to the Bar of Philadelphia. i\lay 3. 1834, 
acquired a considerable practice and was elected, and re- 
elected, as his brother had been before him, to the Penn- 
sylvania Legislature, and was solicited to run for Congress 
but refused, as he was not " thirsting for public life." His 
energ}^ was insatiable; he was one of the founders of the 
Franklin Institute, and recording secretary of the Academy 
of Natural Sciences from 1821 to 1825. a director of the 
Board of City Trusts and member of the Philosophical 
Society. In company with his intimate friend. Moncure 
Robinson, he was one of the projectors of the Philadelphia 
and Reading Railroad Company, was a manager from 1834 
to 1838 as well as counsel for the company, and was sent 
abroad in its behalf to negotiate its first loan in London, 
where he died after a short illness May 17, 1840. He was 
a great linguist. He married Elizabeth, daughter of J. Eric 
Bollman, a man of international prominence, who enjoyed 
the intimate friendship of Lafayette and made all the plans 
and furnished the means for his attempted escape from his 

40 John Keating and his Forbears 

prison at Olmutz. Bollman took an active part in South 
America in movements having for their object the exten- 
sion of the principles laid down in our Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. In addition to all his other activities, William 
assisted his father in the management of the Ceres Com- 
pany and was till his death one of the trustees in whom the 
title was vested; and the untimely death of this only re- 
maining son was a blow to the old father at the age of 
eighty-one, which can be better imagined than described. 
William Keating left surviving him but one child, a daugh- 
ter. In the meantime Jerome Keating, the nephew, com- 
pleted his education at St. Mary's College and returned 
home in the flush of manhood, a handsome young man en- 
dowed with high intelligence, great ambition and most ex- 
emplary character. In the diary to which I have referred, 
wherein John Keating bares his own deep religious faith 
and dependence upon our holy religion, he refers constantly 
to his efforts to surround his children with a Catholic atmos- 
phere, and associates his wife with all their religious prac- 
tices. On April 28, 1810, his little daughter, Lalite, made 
her first confession and the two boys their First Commu- 
nion, offering it for their mother; and having the day be- 
fore read them the letter she wrote him after his departure 
for Europe in 1801, he then makes this entry in the diary: 
" I picture my dear Eulalie accompanying her children to 
the foot of the altar today where they have received their 
God. How much this Communion would have stirred her 
soul, what thanks she would have shown her Creator. 
. . . While the world scoffs at religion, what does it be- 
lieve of the body and soul — a mystery. Its system and con- 
jecture do not explain the secrets of Providence. Examine 
the duties prescribed by religion. Is there any that is in- 
compatible with reason and happiness? Compare the re- 
ligious man with the scoffer; which inspires the more re- 
spect and confidence?" And so he urges his children not to 

John Keating and his Forbears 41 

blush for their reHgioii but to be worthy of it in following 
it. " If people see you are attached to your duties, not by 
habit but by conviction, they will esteem you the more." 
Again on May 23, 1812, the little Lalite makes her First 
Communion, and he says : " I hope the next Sacrament she 
will receive will be that of marriage. May Heaven grant 
her the happiness I enjoyed. I often think of it. 1 wish 
for her a husband sweet and sensible, industrious, well 
brought up and of the same rank as herself. I want him t*^ 
be of an agreeable presence and that he shall have as much 
talent and spirit as is needed to assure him of the friendship, 
esteem and consideration of the world. I want him to have 
religion and the same religion as hers; that they should 
have between them sufficient income for indulging their 
simple tastes without ostentation. Nothing is more con- 
ducive to the happiness of a marriage than for both to have 
principles of a solid religion which makes it a duty for them 
to love, sustain and console each other and work for their 
mutual happiness. Independently of that, I am convinced 
of the truth and superiority of the religion in which my 
daughter has been reared. I hold that she should only 
marry a Catholic." 

In expressing these sentiments he little knew that he was 
actually describing the character of his future son-in-law, 
whom he, himself, had reared in his own household. The 
young people were naturally much thrown together, and an 
attachment sprung up between them. Though first cousins, 
the father saw no obstacle in this circumstance. In his 
diar}^ he states that after several separate interviews he 
learned the sentiments they entertained for each other, and 
approved of the match, assuring them they were entirely at 
liberty to contract it. Jerome had, however, been ofifered 
the post of supercargo on a ship owned by Robert Ralston 
of Philadelphia, bound for China, and the opportunity for 
thus starting out in life was not to be gainsaid. They de- 

42 John Keating and his Forbears 

termined to be married before his departure, and the wed- 
ding took place August 12, 1818. Jerome then set sail and 
was gone a year. On his return in 1822 he formed a part- 
nership with Messrs. John J. Borie and Peter Laguerenne 
for the manufacture of cotton goods at Manayunk, and as 
managing partner he took up his residence there, the mills 
being located on the river bank as they are today. There 
he lived in a house now occupied by the Sisters adjoining 
the present Church of St. John the Baptist. 

At the time of Eulalie's marriage her brother, William 
H. Keating, was a student in Paris, her elder brother, John 
Julius, was just entering upon the practice of law and re- 
sided with his father and Mr. Provenchere and his daugh- 
ter, both sons being still unmarried. After his daughter's 
marriage and removal to Manayunk, John Keating would 
spend his summers with them. They had several children, 
only three of whom lived to maturity — Amelia, who after- 
wards married her cousin, Peter Bauduy, William V. Keat- 
ing, to whom I shall later refer, and Mary, a posthumous 
child, who married James M. Willcox, of Delaware County, 
Pa. The young couple identified themselves with the Cath- 
olic interests in Manayunk and were beloved by their neigh- 
bors, many of whom, of course, were employed in the mill, 
and Mrs. Keating became a little mother to all the children. 
An account of Brother John Chrisostum, otherwise Francis 
Michael Barret, which appeared in the Parish Register of 
St. John the Baptist Church for March. 1909, gives a little 
insight into the origin and life of the parish in Jerome 
Keating's day. The church was begun in 1830 and dedi- 
cated by Bishop Kenrick, then coadjutor Bishop of Phila- 
delphia, in 183 1, Mr. and ]\Irs. Keating conducting the 
choir, he also teaching the boys and she the girls in the Sun- 
day school. One of the pupils, Eugene Mullin, curiously 
enough, afterwards shipped as a sailor for the Far East and 
was wrecked off the coast of Mauritius, where he was res- 

John Keating mid his Forbears 43 

cued and most hospitably received by the Keating family. 
Jerome and his partners presented the diocese with the site 
for the church and helped to build it. It still stands, though 
dwarfed by the magnificent edifice since erected through the 
munificence of Bernard Kane, a later parishioner. In Bishop 
Kenrick's diary, above referred to, occurs the following 
entry: "April 4. 1831. I dedicated to Divine Service the 
Church of St. John the Baptist in the hamlet Manayunk. 
. . . The sermon was by the Rev. John Hughes " (N. B., 
afterwards the great Archbishop of New York). "Title 
to the Church property and cemetery is still in the hands of 
Mr. Borie and Jerome Keating ; but the deed is to be drawn 
up shortly and transfer made to the ordinary of the diocese 
in such form as makes the administration of trustees un- 
necessary. The Church is small but neat in appearance. It 
has been completely built within the past ten months, due 
mainly to the practical piety of Jerome Keating and his ex- 
cellent wife, by the voluntary contributions of the faithful." 
And again : " June 20 I went out to Manayunk to rest and 
recover strength. During this time I enjoyed the hospitality 
of Mr. Jerome Keating. Mr. John Keating told me on this 
occasion of a place in Bradford County which the French 
emigres called Asylum." 

Jerome Keating in 1819, shortly after his marriage, was 
elected to the Board of Managers of the Philadelphia Sav- 
ing Fund and was solicited to run for Congress but declined. 

In May, 1827, Mrs. Jerome Keating suffered impairment 
of health and was advised to go abroad. Fler father ac- 
cordingly invited her and her children, together with the 
widow of his son John, to accompany him on a voyage to 
France. There they were most hospitably received in the 
circle surrounding Charles X, who was reigning at the time. 
John Keating's rank and his family connection and old 
associates must have all contributed to make him feel at 
home in his father's adopted country. On his wife's side 

44 John Keating and Ids Forbears 

his brother-in-law, Comte de Sassenay, who was the secre- 
tary of the Duchess de Berri, gave him access to the court 
circles; and his nephew, de L3^onne. welcomed him with 
open arms. On his own side there were his sister's children, 
the Comte D'Orfeuille and his sister, and his own remain- 
ing sister, Mme. de Tussac, as also his elder brother, Baron 
Geoffrey Keating, living at his place de Plessis in Poitou. 
Then there were friends whom he had known in America, 
among them Comte Hyde de Neuville, who had been Min- 
ister at Washington from 1816 to 1821, and who in a letter 
to John Keating still extant says, " My family know 
through me that Keating is the synonym for loyalty." De 
Neuville is the subject of an interesting biography by 
Frances Jackson entitled " The Memoirs of Baron Hyde de 
Neuville, outlaw, exile, ambassador." He was Minister of 
Marine in the Martignac Cabinet in January, 1828, while 
the Keatings were in Paris. There he met also the Comte 
de Noailles, son of his old associate, and his old commander, 
Count Walsh of the Irish Brigade. A little incident in this 
connection which occurred half a century afterwards may 
not be without interest. When the late Dr. John M. Keat- 
ing, who accompanied General Grant on his trip around the 
world, was passing through the Red Sea he found himself 
sitting at table beside a young French officer by name of 
Walsh who had charge of the mails on the steamer. This 
officer, upon hearing the name of his neighbor, remarked 
that it was a name ever revered in his family because of a 
life-long friendship existing between an ancestor of his and 
a Keating formerly in the French service, l^pon comparing 
notes they found that the friends he referred to were 
Colonel Comte Walsh, Serrant of the Irish Brigade, and 
Captain John Keating, of his regiment, the respective great- 
grandfathers of the two travelers. 

There were also several of John Keating's own clients 
then living in France who owned lands in Pennsylvania the 

Born 1801 ; Died 1873 

John Keating and his Forbears 45 

charge of which they had entrusted to him, among them his 
Hfe-long friend Comte D'Orbigny, formerly a general in 
the French service, M. Pearron de Serennes, whose son in 
after years was to write to John Keating a letter, still ex- 
tant, describing his experiences during the Reign of Terror, 
when his mother and he came to Paris in the hope of being 
less conspicuous than in the provinces, and from the window 
of their home saw Charlotte Corday, Camille Desmoulin, 
Danton and others carried in the tumbril to the Place Louis 
XV for execution. In this letter he also dramatically de- 
scribes their own narrow escape when agents of the Revo- 
lution searched their house for incriminating evidence, and 
by the merest chance overlooked some Louis d'or, which, 
because they portrayed the head of the King, would have 
sealed their doom. Mme. du Cayla. the daughter of Talon, 
who was a very prominent personage in the circle of Charles 
X, was also on intimate terms with the Keatings during their 
stay. Mr. Keating was also the bearer of communications 
from Mr. Provenchere to the Duchess de Berri. with whom, 
as I have said, he was in frequent correspondence, and in 
his letters home John Keating speaks of his reception by the 
Duke D'Angouleme, the then Dauphin of France, who was 
in command of the army and from whom John Keating- 
solicited a higher post for his young nephew, Philip Mar- 
quet, an officer in the service. It was shortly after John 
Keating's return from France that the second Revolution 
occurred and the older branch of the Bourbon line were 
swept from the throne forever. 

After a visit to Amsterdam to confer with the foreign 
bankers, Keating repaired to London, where he had an in- 
terview with Mr. Baring, the English banker interested in 
the Bingham lands, on the subject of their mutual interests. 
The family then returned to America, having been abroad 
for almost a year. They were accompanied by Mr. Adolph 
E. Borie, son of Jerome Keating's partner, who had 

46 John Keating and his Forbears 

been living in Paris completing his education. Mr. Borie 
afterward became Secretary of the Navy during General 
Grant's administration and his sister became the second 
wife of John Keating' s grandson, the late Dr. William V. 
Keating. Mr. Provenchere died in 183 1, after which event 
John Keating broke up housekeeping and boarded in the 
city, making protracted visits to his daughter's house in 
Manayunk. , An interesting little incident is recorded in one 
of his letters to Baron de Neuville, who, as has been said, 
was then Minister of Marine in the French Cabinet, to 
whom he reports that in conformity with the Baron's in- 
structions he had received M. Pierre Gregoire Reynaud, 
"Ancien Superieurdes milices de St. Domingue," as "Cheva- 
lier de I'ordre de St. Louis." What the ceremony consisted 
in is not disclosed. This was perhaps the last time the order 
and decoration were ever conferred. 

But a terrible affliction soon befell the famil)^ Jerome 
Keating, the beloved son-in-law, was stricken with an affec- 
tion of the heart and died at Manayunk, January 28, 1833, 
at the age of forty-one. Thus was the second male member 
of the family, upon whom his hopes were built, to part with 
him in his declining years. Nor even yet were his sorrows 
at an end. After that John Keating lived for the most part 
with his daughter at Manayunk, maintaining an office only 
in Philadelphia for the transaction of his business. He 
maintained, all the while, a constant correspondence with 
his brother Geoffrey in Poitiers and his nephew Valentin in 
Mauritius. In 1836 his granddaughter, Amelia, married her 
cousin, John Peter Bauduy, and removed to Cuba, w^here her 
husband engaged in the practice of medicine. Thereupon 
the family moved from Manayunk to 1 1 1 South Fourth 
Street, Philadelphia, which became the family residence and 
favorite resort of all their connections until John Keating's 
death. His son, William, was at that time practicing law, 
and a member of the Legislature, and was his father's right 

John Keating and his Forbears 47 

hand, accompanying him on his annual visits to the lands. 
They never failed on the occasion of these visits to bring- 
home with them a bottle of Seneca oil, as it was called, as a 
cure for rheumatism, bruises, etc. This oil was collected by 
the Indians of the Seneca tribe, who occupied that region, 
by dipping their blankets in Oil Creek upon the surface of 
which the oil flowed, from what source no one ever thought 
to discover. Little did John Keating realize that in that 
bottle lay a secret which would suddenly, as the Civil War 
came to an end, reveal itself and revolutionize the world. 
The Keating lands were but slightly within the oil belt. 
Had they been located but little farther west and south they 
would have associated their owners in the public eye with 
the modern term " Bonanza ". 

In 1832, while the Keatings were still living at Mana- 
>'unk, the cholera visited Philadelphia in aggravated form, 
and Mr. Keating writes that in one week in x\ugust, out of 
a population of 160,000, there were 370 deaths from the 
disease in Philadelphia ; and in September of the same year, 
out of 2,300 cases there were 800 deaths. Prior to this 
time he had taken part in the maintenance of the St. Joseph's 
Orphan Asylum, the oldest Catholic asylum in Philadelphia, 
being for many years the President of the Board; and 
from that time forth until his death it was an absorbing 
source of labor and interest. He notes in one of his letters 
that throughout the entire epidemic there was not a single 
case in the institution. The Asylum still stands where it 
stood in his day, a monument to the devotion of the Good 
Sisters of Charity, by whose labors it has increased and 
multiplied its benefactions a hundredfold. 

The loss of his second son in 1840 completed the sum of 
his sorrows. He bore it with the same patience and resig- 
nation that characterized his entire life. Writing to Mr. 
Labouchere of Amsterdam soon afterwards, he says : " My 
poor son is much regretted, and now it is permitted me to 

48 John Keating and his Forbears 

say that I know no one who combined intehigence, judg- 
ment, exactitude and probit}' to such a degree. In my 
affliction it is a consolation to hear it so often said that it is 
the lot of few parents to mourn the death of such sons as I 
have lost. But it is our duty to resign ourselves to the Will 
of God, who knows better than we do what is most salutary 
for us." His sole reliance then rested upon his grandson 
William, the son of his daughter by her union with Jerome, 
the beloved rtephew, and the reliance, be it said, was not 
misplaced. Having studied medicine at the University of 
Pennsylvania, William soon acquired a large practice, as- 
suming in addition the charge of the Ceres Company, which 
his grandfather, by reason of his great age, was no longer 
able actively to continue. His life and achievements are 
not, however, the subject of this sketch. 

In 1845, ^t the age of eighty-five, John Keating made his 
last trip to the lands in company with his grandson, making 
the entire circuit of the company's possessions, and follow- 
ing it up with a letter to the bankers explaining at length the 
entire situation. He had been elected to the Board of Trus- 
tees of the University of Pennsylvania in 1832 and to the 
Board of Managers of the Philadelphia Saving Fund Soci- 
ety in 1841, and while he resigned the University in 1852, 
he remained with the Saving Fund until his death. He was 
actively interested in all matters pertaining to the well-being 
of the Church in Philadelphia, and seconded Bishop Kenrick 
in all measures affecting its growth and development. He 
held pews in St. Mary's, St. Joseph's and St. John's churches 
— the last being then the Cathedral Church — but attended 
services at St. Mary's. In politics he was a Whig and 
strongly sympathized with Nicholas Biddle in the matter of 
the removal of the deposits of the United States Bank. 

The last sacrifice he was called upon to make was when 
his daughter, after long contemplating the step, determined 
to enter the Visitation Convent at Frederick. Her daughter 

JoJin Keating and his Forbears 49 

had become a widow and returned to her grandfather's 
house in 1844, thus enabling her mother to accompHsh her 
purpose. She afterwards became Superior of the House. 
and from there was moved to Georgetown, where she died 
in 1873 ^" the odor of sanctity. 

The Bauduy family and their descendants had continued 
to reside during all these years in Wilmington. Their place 
at Eden Park, outside the city limits, was a great resort of 
all the family connections, and they in turn looked upon 
John Keating, who had outlived all his contemporaries, as 
the head of the family. One of Pierre Bauduy's daughters 
married John Gareschc. of an old French family, who had 
formerly represented the United States as Consul at Ma- 
tanzas. He succeeded to the family residence, where he 
and his charming wife and daughters became widely known 
for their hospitality and benevolence. They had a numer- 
ous family whose descendants are now distributed through- 
out this country and elsewhere. 

As John Keating advanced in years, his tall, erect and 
venerable figure, striking countenance and snow'-white hair, 
and his courtly manners won for him marked deference and 
respect from all, friends and strangers alike. At his elder 
brother's death the title of Baron devolved upon him in 
France, and while he never, of course, assumed it here, he 
was always known and affectionately termed the " Old 
Baron ". In a letter written in 1855, the year before he 
died, addressed to his old friend Labouchere of Amsterdam, 
he had this to say: " In 1783 Napoleon was a lieutenant of 
the 2nd battalion of the Regiment de la Frere, artillery, 
and I a captain of the 2nd battalion of the 92nd Regiment 
of Infantry. Two years afterwards I was captain, and I 
had the cross of St. Louis given me by Louis XVI. I am, 
perhaps, the only surviving chevalier created by that un- 
happy prince. Napoleon, for years master of Europe, but 
ending his astonishing career on a rock exiled from his 

50 John Keating and his Forbears 

country and family, dies immortalized by his triumphs and 
his misfortunes, and I live in the midst of my children with- 
out any ills, manager of a large land Company." 

On February 12, 185 1, his grandson William married the 
daughter of Dr. Rene La Roche, the eminent authority on 
yellow fever, whose father himself, a prominent physician 
of Philadelphia, had emigrated from San Domingo and was 
John Keating's old friend and medical adviser. And there- 
after to the end of his days John Keating's home life was 
gladdened by the voices of children and the sweet com- 
panionship and fihal devotion of a perfect woman. 

Having contracted a cold in attending a meeting of the 
Philadelphia Saving Fund, he gradually lost strength. Re- 
ceiving the last Sacraments with entire composure, he ex- 
pressed himself as perfectly resigned to the will of God, 
and died ]\Iay ig, 1856, in the 96th year of his age. He 
was buried in the family burial lot at St. John's church, 
Manayunk, Archbishop Kenrick performing the services and 
delivering a beautiful address expressive of his own estimate 
of the deceased's character and personality. The Archbishop 
also composed the epitaph on his tomb in the old church- 
yard, which reads as follows : " To the memory of John 
Keating. Born in the year 1 760 in Ireland. Educated from 
childhood in France. Captain in Walsh's regiment of the 
Irish Brigade. He passed the last sixty-three years of his 
life in the United States, having settled in Philadelphia. 
He died at Philadelphia, May 19, 1856, at the age of 96 in 
full possession of his faculties, with lively faith and hope in 
God. His long life, distinguished by integrity, honor, re- 
fined manners and unaffected piety. May he rest in peace," 
Philadelphia, December, 1918. 


DRAWN IN 1767 

'Genealogria Valentini Keating de Baybush in Coraitatu 
Limericensi, Armigeri, recta linea descendentis ab antiqua 
familia Keating de Kilkoan in Comitatu Wexfordiensi et 
postea de Crottentegle in Baronia de Slewmargagh in Comi- 
tatu Reginae 







Ex officiis Archivorum hujus civitatis Dubliniensis luculenter 
constat varias variis Temporibus Literas Patentes Regias de 
Promotionibus honorariis &c. Concessas fuisse huic Familiae 
qiiarum Literarum Copiae Signatae ab Illustrissimo Comite 
de Clanbrassili Rememoratore Regio & Perillustri Domino 
Joanne Lodge Pro Magistro Rotulorum Magnae Curiae Can- 
cellario Exhibitae & ostensae fuerunt Regi Armorum faeciali 
inhancce geHealogiam deducendam 

Gcnealop-ical Table 

Henricus Keating 
de Kilkoan in Com.'" 


Maria Filia 

Robertas Keating 


Anastasia Filia 

] no lines 




Ilenricus Keating 
Kectnr de Hynpydell 
in diaecesi Sarum 

vide Testanientum Jlenrici Kea- 
ting Recioris Ecclesiae de Hyn- 
pydell in diaecesi Sarum 

Joannes Keating 


Maria Filia 
-Hore de 
Dungarvan in 
Com'" Waierfordiae 


Jacobus Keating 
Prior de Kilman 
-ham per viginti 
annoruni Seriem 
et Protho -Prior 
tolius Iliberniae 

David Keating 

B. vide Historian! 
Equitum Mclitensivnn 
et Jacobi Ware 


vide- Lite ras 
Henrici 8 
Sub Sigillo 


Gulielmus Keating 

designatus Capitan- 

eus Turbariorum 

et Custos Marchiarum 

in Coni*^" Reginae 

Eleonora Filia 
-Purcell de 
Loughmoe in 
Com'" Tipp*' 

Nicholas Baro 

Keating in Com'" 

Wexfordiae Primo 

-gens Patrimonium 


11° Elizabethae 

D. vide Literas 
Patentes Elizabethae 
Angliae Regina 


Thomas Keating 
cap. et Cust. March 
obiit A. D. 1566. 

Eleanora, Filia 
Christopliori Sherlock 
de Little Rath in 
Com'" Kildarensi 

Galfridus Keatinj 
in Com'" Kildar 
filius secundus 

Genealosrical Table 


E. Vide Inquisitionem 
Captatn Anno Regni 
Elirabethae 28" 


Patritius Keating 
cap.etcust. March 

Margarita Filia 
-O' Regan de 
Com'" Reginae 

F. Vide Inquisitionem 
Captam anno Regni 
Jacobi Primi X" 

Ci. Vide Literas Patentes 
Anno Regni Caroli Primi XII 

F. G. 

Thomas Keating 
cap. et Cust. March 
obitt A. D. 1678 

Rosa Filia Nicbolai 
Eustace de Colbinstown 
in Com'" Kildarensi Arm" 
Ex Alicia Filia Roberti 
Bowen de Bally Adams 
in Com'" Reginae, Arm" 

Redmundus Keating 

Galfridus Keating de 
Baybush in Com'" 
Obitt A. D. 1 741 

Redmundus Keating 



Valentinus Keating 

Elizabeth Filia Geraldi 
Fitzgerald, Filii Redmundi 
de Broghill in Comitatu 
Coriagiae Arm" ex Anna 
Filia Joannis O'Neal in 
Comitatu Waterfordiae 

Maria Filia Thaddaei O'Quin 
de Adare in Com" Limericensi 
Arm"^' ex Brigida Filia 
Andreae Rice Filii Jacobi 
de Dingle in Comitatu 
Kerriensi Arm" 

Sarah Filia Patritii 
Creagh Filii Gulielmi 
de Tiervon in Com'" 
Limericensi Armigeri 
ex Margarita Filia 
Jacobi Arthur de 
Glanodromon in 
eodem Com'" 

Thomas filius 2d 
Joannes filius 3d 

Galfridius Keating 



Gulielmus Filius 4 
Redmundis filius 5 

54 ^ Genealogical Table 

Omnibus et Sing^iilis ad quos Presentes pervenerint Guliel- 
mus Hawkins Armiger Ulster Rex Armorum Totius Hibernia 
Sciatis qviod ege praedictvi Rex Armornm Potestate &c. 
Authoritate a Regia Majestate sub magno sigillo Hiberniae 
concessa certiores facio quod Valentinus Keating de Baybush 
in Comitatu Limericensi Armiger Linea paterna legitime 
educatur ab Henrico Keating de Kilkoan in Comitatu Wex- 
fordiae Armigero. Uti in genealogia huic annexa manifeste 
patet et quod Insignia supra depicta ad Eundem Valentinum 
Keating — proprie pertineant — In cujus Rei Testimonium 
nomen Titulumque hisce adscripsi et Sigillum officii mei 
apposui Dublinii Die undecima Augusti Anno Domini Mil- 
lesimo Septingentesimo Sexagessimo Septimo 

Pro Gulielmo Hawkins 
Ulster Rex 
Armorum Totius Hiberniae [seal] 

We believe the above to be true 

GuLiELMUs Bryan 
Maurice Keating Deputatus Ulster 

Of Narramore 
Member of Parliament for Naas 

John Bourke 

Member of Parliament for Old Leighlin 

Genealogical Table 55 

Of the five sons of \'alentine Keating named in the family 
tree but two, John and William, left descendants as follows : 

1. JOHN, b. 1760; d. 1S56; ni. Eulalie Deschapelles. 

Issue : 

John Julius, h. 1798; d. 1S24; m. Elizabeth Hopkinson. 
William H., b. 1799; d. 1840; ni. Elizabeth Bollmann. 
Issue : 

Elizabeth Ellen, b, 1838. 
Eulalia M., b. iSoi; d. 1873; m. Jerome Keating, 1S18, cousin. 

2. WILLIAM, b. 1760; d. 1S03; ni. 1789, Brigittede Rochecouste, d. 1S15, 

Is.-ue : 

(A) Jerome Keating, b. 1792; d. 1S33; m. Eulalia Keating (cousin). 
Issue : 

(a) Amelia, b. 1S20; d. 1S86; ni. John Peter Bauduy, 1837. 

Issue : 

Jerome K.,li. 1S40; d. 1914; m. Caroline Bankhead, 1S64. 
Issue : 
William K., b. 1866. d. 
J. Bankhead, b. 1867. d. 
Elizabeth, b. 1870. 
Eulalia, b. 1S72. d. 
Caroline, b. 1875. 
Mary, b. 187S. 
Louis, b. 1877. d. 
Jerome, b. 1880; m. Marcia A. Eartol, 1910. 

(b) Williavi V., b. 1823; d. 1S94; m. i, Susan La Roche, 1S51. 

2, Eliza Borie, 1S61. 
Issue : 

(i) John M., b. 1852; d. 1S93; m. Edith McCall, 1S77. 
Issue : 

Edith, b. 1878; m. 1909, W. F. Sands. Children. 
Elizabeth, b. 1880. 

Margaret, b. 1882; m. 1910, Mark Willcox. Children. 
P. McCall, b. 1884. 

(2) J, Percy Keating, b. 1855; m. Catherine E. Dixon, 


(3) Eulalia M., b. 1856; m. Mason Campbell, 1879. 

Virginia, b. 1881; m. J. S. Newbold, 1902. 

Virginia, b. 1907. 

56 Genealogical Table 

(4) Susan L., b. 1S5S; d. 1915; m. Lindley Johnson. 
Issue : 

Lindley, b. 1885. 

W. Keating, b. 18S7; m. Eleanor Watt, 191 6. 

Marion, b. 1889. 

Susan, b. 1890; d. 1910. 

(5) Mary, b. 1864; ni. Mason Lisle, 1898. 

(6) Sophie B., b. 1S66; d. 1912. 

(c) Mary, b. 1833; d. 1S64; m. James M. Wiilcox. 
Issue : 

(1) William J., b. 1S56; d. 1893; m. Mary Cavender, 

Issue : 

Dorothy, b. 1S84; d. 189S. 

W. Keating, b. 1885. 

Harold, b. 1889. 

Eulalia, b. 1891; m. O. P. Pepper, M. D., 1916. 

I child. 

(2) Eulalia, b. 1858; m. R. W. Lesley. 
Issue : 

Eulalia, b. 1880; m. R. Berridge, 1905. Children. 

(3) Mary, b. i860; d. 1913. 

(4) Cora, b, 1861; d. 1895. 

(5) James M., b. 1862; m. Jean Griffith. 
(B) Vai.entine Keating, m. Mile. Pulcherie Buttie. 

Issue : 

(a) Valentine, b. 1819; m. Baron Paul des Bassyn dc Riche- 

mont, Paris. 
Issue : 

(i) Egle, m. I, Baron Cluet de Pesruches. 

2, Baron de Roujoux (cousin). 
(2) Berthe, m. H. Exshaw, Bordeaux. Children. 

(b) Amelina, b. 1822; m. 1843, Baron de Buxeuil de Roujoux, 

Issue : 

(1) Andre m. i, Mile. Segoud. i child. 

2, Egle de Peruches (de Richemont), 
cousin. 3 children. 

(2) Victorine, m. M. Van den Broek. 

(c) Caroline, b. 1824; d. 1906; m. Wm. Graeme Dick, London. 

Issue : 

Genealogical Table 57 

) William Galfrid, b. 1S26; m. Mile, de Flacourt, France. 
Issne : 

Patrick, m. Mile, de Sampigny. 

Children: William, b. 1S89; 2 daughters, 
(e) Anais, b. 1828; m. i, M. Ilagou, France. 
2, Cte de Vougy. 

Daughter, m. Capt. de Valoux. 
(i) Pukherie, 1831; m. Dr. Mailly. 
Issue : 

Olivier, m. Marie Hart (cousin). Children, 
(g) Jerome, b. 1839; d. 1840. 
(h) Isabel, b. 1842; d.; lu. i, Cte de Boussy. 
2, Dr. Vidal. 
(C) Redmond Keating, m. Mile, de Rochecouste (cousin). 
Issue : 

(a) Jerome Thorny, b. 1826; d. unmarried. 

(b) Gustave, b. 1829; d. unmarried. 

(c) Clara, b. 1831; d. ; m. Cte de Bissy, Mauritius. Chil- 


(d) Eudoxie, b. 1832; d. ; m. Vcle, de Bissy. 
Issue : 

Valentine, m. Children. 

(e) Amanda, b. 1836; d. 1908; m. Edward Hart, Marseilles. 
Issue : 

(1) Villiers, m. . Children. 

(2) Marie, m. Olivier de Mailly (cousin.) Children. 

(3) Anna, m. G. D'Arloz, Marseilles. Children. 

(4) Lionel, d. 

(5) Walter, m. Mile de Beauregard. Paris. Children. 

(6) Georgina, m. Lt. Col. Helo. 

(7) Olivier, d. ; m. Mile, de Taxis. Children, 
(i) Robert, b. 1838; d. unmarried. 

(g) Emma, b. 1840; d. ; m. Cte. de Courlon. 

(h) Roger, b. 1842; d. unmarried, 
(i) Henry; d. unmarried. 

(j) Angele, d. 1906; m. Lucien Bax de Savignac, Mauritius. 
Issue : 

Daughter, m. Cte. Raoul d'Arioz, Marseilles. 
Daughter, m. Baron de Maillard, Marseilles. 
L. Eax (de Keating), m. , Mauritius. Children. 

JFLY 75